Published on November 20th, 2010 | by Kyle Spencer, Editor
Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood Review
Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood
Release Date: Nov. 16, 2010
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Genre: Action / Adventure
Platforms: Xbox 360 [Reviewed], PlayStation 3, PC
In 1 year we saw the release of two Assassin’s Creed titles. Assassin’s Creed 2 put us back in the animus, assuming the role of Ezio, of the Italian renaissance. You met historical figures, such as Leonardo da Vinci and you discovered along the path of revenge your true calling: assassin! Assassin’s Creed 2 was so well received that a sequel was inevitable. In Brotherhood we assume the role of Ezio again, picking up right where the second game left off. Of course, the big question is, “Is Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood a full game or just an expansion?” I can tell you this much, Brotherhood is more than just an expansion pack and packs some major substance behind it. With all that said, does it deliver?
Cesare Borgia, the son of Rodrigo (the guy you killed at the end of Assassin’s Creed 2) is not too happy with Ezio and the Assassin’s guild for slaying his father. He gathers troops of Rome and launches a full scale battle on Monteriggioni, the villa in which you built throughout the course of Assassin’s Creed 2. Ezio’s quest this time around takes revenge on Cesare and brings Rome to its knees. Twelve districts make up Brotherhood and each district is protected by towers that keep armored troops looking for you or members of your guild. You must take the tower down, and to do that, you must kill the tower captain. Bring the tower down and the district is yours. You can then open up the business, much like the villa, to get a steady income. Easy enough? The towers are not going to be your main focus in Brotherhood. Although they are a big part, the towers simply generate a way for you to gain money throughout the game to upgrade your armor and weapons.
Brotherhood features a lot of side quests and missions for Ezio to partake on. I felt myself becoming very sidetracked at times in the game, sometimes to the point that I nearly forgot about progressing the story. You can explore historic landmarks and the best thing of all, you can make friends with other guilds and perform missions for them. Think of Oblivion when you were a member of four different guilds at any given time. You will again find treasure chests, and be given contracts to further gain respect. Respect is a plus and, of course, money is too.
The biggest leaps in the series come from the adjustment on the combat system. My biggest gripe with Assassin’s Creed 2 was the dumbed down fighting system that worked about 60% of the time. Brotherhood smoothed out all of the kinks. Ezio actually moves and strikes with more precision and power. Players also have the ability to recruit members to your guild, because as advertised in Brotherhood, “I can’t take on Rome by myself”. Each assassin you recruit can gain experience points by completing contracts for money and also their combat moves and kills equal to XP points. Using assassins is easy: You need an enemy killed? Hold the left trigger after selecting an enemy and your guild mate will assassinate that target. Every time that a tower falls in a given district, you will gain a slot to recruit an ordinary citizen to the guild. Although there is a new assassin to be gained, make sure to watch their health and make sure their armor is upgraded because they can die and you will have to work to train another.
The main backbone of this game is not to be the silent assassin type anymore. Although this element still exists, your focus now is to gain trust in numbers and not do all of the dirty work yourself. Think of this game as Ezio sitting in a director’s chair just picking out targets and letting his guild mates do the rest.
This game can be a little bit disappointing in the fact that you, as a player, do not have to kill as much as in Assassins Creed 2. This time just pick a target, pull the trigger, and watch from a distance. Does that mean the AC: Brotherhood is less difficult than in previous games? In a way, yes. The enjoyment out of stealth killing guards from inside haystacks and ledges of buildings will be lessened in this game, but long range weapons and guild mates take over in that sense.
Remember the loot you received from dead bodies in AC2? Of course you do. In Brotherhood you can still loot soldiers. This time you gain much, much more, from soldiers than just a few gold coins. Weapon ammo, money, and meds are very frequent. Again, gaining these items from looting makes the game easier to play. A majority of the items you pick up can also be sold for some extra income. Just make sure to keep depositing money into banks as you open them to keep your pockets from maxing out.
Ezio can now ride horses inside of districts and ride them through towns. Players wanted to bring their horse through the front gates of many cities before, but were never able to do so. Now in Brotherhood, you can take your horse anywhere, anytime. It makes it very nice for quick escapes, but can cause some major damage to civilians if your not a careful rider. This is an easy way to alert guards. You can also, once again, whistle for a horse at any time by pressing a button (similar to Red Dead Redemption). The trot button on the horse has been replaced with Ezio’s ability to stand on the horse while riding. It’s a cool move to look at once or twice, but becomes seldom used in the course of the game.
The environments are just as beautiful as they were in AC2. The world is carefully laid out, and is historically accurate to the time period. The characters and weapons look a bit more crisp than in AC2, and even facial animations looked smoother. The cities still feel very authentic and alive. Many of AC2 features such as wanted posters, walk-through markets, and notoriety from the town’s people are present.
The biggest addition to the franchise came in the way of multiplayer. Yes that is right, I said multiplayer in an Assassin’s Creed game. The play style in itself is very unique and fun to play. You sync up as a modern day Templar, thrown into a training program to hunt Assassins. The main objective here is you are given a target at the start of every game. It is your job to assassinate that target, while at the same time, being hunted by another assassin. Players are given a compass to help you find the target, but the city you play in is large and full of guards. Not to mention citizens are still as lively. You must not bring more heat down on yourself by alerting them, so the best thing to do here is the best stealth you can possibly do. Do not hide in one spot, as another assassin is easily able to get you. Move frequently and blend in. You will have four game modes to choose from, each offering a different take on the solid free-for all. Wanted uses the same game type but the radar is tweaked to be unusable, and making the game based more on looking hard at your television screen for sudden movements and change in characters.
Manhunt divides two teams into two, where one team hides and the other team hunts. Hide and Seek for a video game, but with killing. The last mode is Alliance, where you and a buddy partner up against another team of two. The match is over when one team has zero assassins in the game. If you are looking for a change from playing countless hours of Call of Duty, Brotherhood will fill the void. Not for long periods of time, but works nicely on a couple hour experience.
Brotherhood is a solid addition to the franchise, and lets us play with the better of the two characters one more time before we move on. The game still functions as an Assassin’s Creed game, but is easily transitioned for more of a casual approach. If you were a fan of AC2 you will enjoy Brotherhood. It gives you a lot more of what you loved with some solid additions. If you were looking for a major step up in the series this probably is not what you were looking for; you will have to wait for Assassin’s Creed 3. Should this be a game worthy of your hard earned $60? I believe it is. It features so much more than an expansion would offer.
If you were wonder, Brotherhood does not play or feel like an overpriced expansion pack. It feels like a honest sequel to the sequel that we loved last year. From the graphic and fighting upgrade and the addition of multiplayer, add this to your long list of games to own this year.
[xrr label=”Rating: 7.5/10″ rating=7.5/10]
+ Visually stunning
+ Improved fighting mechanics
+ Multiplayer is fun and unique
– Seems too easy
– Target lock-on still needs work
– Story was not as satisfying as previous titles
– Side missions are AC2 all over again